Windburn Lips

Soothe Windburn Lips: Prevention and Treatment Tips

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, athlete, or simply enjoy spending time in nature, you may have experienced the discomfort of windburn lips. This common skin condition can leave your lips feeling dry, chapped, and painfully sensitive. Whether you’re hitting the slopes, hiking through windy trails, or braving the elements on a cold winter day, understanding how to prevent and treat windburn lips is crucial for maintaining healthy, comfortable skin.

Windburn lips can occur when the delicate skin on your lips is exposed to harsh winds, cold temperatures, and dry air. Unlike sunburn, which is caused by UV rays, windburn is the result of the wind stripping away the natural oils that protect your skin. As the moisture is depleted, your lips become dehydrated, leading to that tight, burning sensation and unsightly peeling.

Winter sports, spring camping, summer hiking – the fun doesn’t have to stop because of lip woes. Protect your lips from the elements with these easy-to-follow tips and enjoy the great outdoors, windburn and all.

What Is Windburn?

Ever ventured out on a chilly, blustery day without adequate protection? You might have experienced windburn, a skin condition that’s often misdiagnosed as sunburn. But here’s the catch – it can strike even when the sun is hiding behind clouds.

Harsh weather conditions can leave your skin feeling raw and exposed, leading to redness, irritation, and that unmistakable burning sensation. Your face, lips, and hands are usually the first to suffer.

Symptoms of Windburn

Symptoms of windburn include red, dry, and irritated skin that may feel hot to the touch. The affected area may also be itchy, swollen, or painful. In severe cases, the skin may blister or peel.

Cold weather is the perfect breeding ground for windburn, but it can strike at any time of year. What makes it more likely is a combo of strong winds and dry air – a bad mix that’s even more hazardous at higher altitudes where the air is thinner.

How Windburn Differs from Sunburn

While windburn and sunburn share some similarities, they are caused by different factors. Sunburn is caused by overexposure to UV rays, while windburn is caused by the combined effects of cold temperatures and low humidity.

Don’t let the elements get the best of your skin. Both the sun and wind can cause serious damage, resulting in red, irritated, and painful skin. Take a proactive approach to protecting your skin from these harsh conditions to keep it looking and feeling its best.

Windburn Lips: Causes and Symptoms

Windburn Lips Causes and Symptoms

Windburned lips are a common problem in cold, windy weather. The delicate skin on the lips is particularly susceptible to the drying effects of wind and low humidity.

I’ve experienced windburn lips firsthand during my skiing trips in the Australian Alps and hiking in the Blue Mountains. The combination of high altitude, cold temperatures, and biting winds left my lips red, chapped, and painful.

Symptoms of windburned lips include redness, dryness, cracking, and a burning or stinging sensation. In severe cases, the lips may bleed or develop painful sores. Other factors that can contribute to windburn lips include sun exposure, dehydration, and certain medications that dry out the skin.

How to Treat Windburn on Lips

A scorching wind can leave your lips feeling parched and tender. As the founder of Skorcha, I’ve helped many customers alleviate windburned lips and promote healing.

Moisturize and Soothe

The first step in treating windburn lips is to moisturize and soothe the affected area. Apply a thick, nourishing lip balm or ointment to help replenish lost moisture and create a protective barrier against further damage.

Hungry for moisture? Feast on products loaded with nourishing ingredients like beeswax, shea butter, and coconut oil. These nutrient-rich helpers lock in hydration, while aloe vera gel provides an added layer of comfort and rejuvenation.

Cool Compresses

Applying a cool compress to your windburned lips can help reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Soak a clean cloth in cool water, wring it out, and gently hold it against your lips for 5-10 minutes at a time. Repeat as needed throughout the day.

Over-the-Counter Pain Medication

Got windburn? Don’t let it get the best of you. An over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be your new best friend. By reducing inflammation and discomfort, you can say goodbye to that painful, dry sensation and hello to happy, healthy lips.

Stay Hydrated

Want healthy, glowing skin? Start with a healthy habit: drinking enough water. Make it a goal to drink 8 glasses a day, and be cautious of drinks that can dry you out, like coffee and soda.

Avoid Hot Beverages and Water

While it may be tempting to sip on a hot drink or take a steamy shower when your lips are windburned, hot temperatures can actually further irritate and dry out the skin. Stick to lukewarm or cool beverages and water until your lips have healed.

Give Your Skin Time to Heal

Windburned lips need time to heal, so be patient and consistent with your treatment. Avoid picking at or peeling any flaky skin, as this can delay healing and potentially cause infection. With proper care, most cases of windburn lips will resolve within a few days to a week.

Preventing Windburn on Lips

Preventing Windburn on Lips

I’ve learned the hard way that windburn is no joke. To avoid the pain and discomfort, I take a proactive stance by shielding my skin from harsh winds and icy air.

Choose Gentle Cleansers

Caring for your lips means choosing gentle, soothing products that won’t dry them out. Avoid lip balms or lipsticks containing harsh ingredients like menthol or camphor. Instead, pick nourishing formulas packed with natural goodness to keep your lips soft, supple, and hydrated.

Skip Exfoliation

While exfoliating your lips may seem like a good way to get rid of dry, flaky skin, it can actually make windburn worse. Scrubbing or exfoliating your lips when they’re already irritated can cause further damage and delay healing.

Wait until your lips have fully recovered before gently exfoliating with a soft toothbrush or sugar scrub. And even then, be sure to follow up with a rich, moisturizing lip balm to keep your lips protected.

Use Thick Moisturizer and Lip Balm

Before stepping out into the chill, prep your pucker with a generous helping of lip balm or ointment. Choose formulas that boast protective powerhouse ingredients like beeswax, shea butter, or coconut oil to keep your lips soft and supple.

Remember to reapply lip balm frequently, especially after eating or drinking. This habit will help prevent windburn and keep your lips soft, smooth, and protected all day long.

Cover Your Lips

When the weather is particularly harsh, it’s a good idea to cover your lips for extra protection. Wear a scarf or balaclava that covers your mouth and nose, or pull your coat collar up over your face.

Cold winter air can be brutal on your skin, especially on your lips. To avoid the painful and unsightly effects of windburn, make sure to cover up on a winter day. Your skin – and lips – will thank you.

Apply Sunscreen

Many people forget to apply sunscreen to their lips, but this delicate skin is just as susceptible to sun damage as the rest of your face. In fact, the Mayo Clinic reports that the lips are one of the most common sites for skin cancer.

To protect your lips from both windburn and sun damage, choose a lip balm with an SPF of at least 15. Look for a natural broad-spectrum formula that protects against both UVA and UVB rays, and reapply every 2 hours or after eating or drinking.

When to See a Doctor for Windburned Lips

When to See a Doctor for Windburned Lips

For minor cases of windburn lips, home remedies can provide adequate relief. On the other hand, if the symptoms persist or intensify, it’s crucial to schedule a doctor’s appointment to rule out underlying issues.

If your windburn lips are extremely painful, blistered, or showing signs of infection (such as pus or fever), it’s time to see a doctor. You should also seek medical care if your symptoms don’t improve within a week of home treatment.

In rare cases, windburn lips can trigger a flare-up of conditions like rosacea or eczema. If you have a history of these skin conditions, be extra vigilant about protecting your lips and see your doctor if you experience any unusual symptoms. Finally, if you notice any persistent changes to your lips (such as a non-healing sore or a new mole), it’s important to get checked out by a dermatologist.

Want to keep your lips happy and healthy? Making lip care a regular part of your daily routine can help prevent and treat windburn, keeping you smiling all year round. It’s a small step that can make a big difference in your overall sun safety and skin health.

FAQs in Relation to Windburn Lips

How do you treat windburn on lips?

Treat windburn on lips like a wounded soldier – give it plenty of TLC. Apply a thick layer of moisturizer or lip balm, like aloe vera, to lock in hydration. Cool compresses can also provide pain relief. And remember, stay hydrated from the inside out by drinking plenty of water to replenish moisture.

How long does windburn take to heal?

Windburn is like a bad cold – it’ll take some time to shake off. Typically, it takes around 3-5 days for windburn to heal, but it can take up to a week or more in severe cases. Just be patient, and let your skin heal at its own pace.

What causes wind burns?

Windburn is like a vicious triple threat – cold air, dry air, and UV rays team up to cause chaos on your skin. When skin loses its natural protection, windburned skin becomes the painful result. However, by taking extra precautions like wearing sunscreen and lip balm, you can minimize the damage.

Does chapstick help windburn?

Chapstick is like a trusted sidekick – it can help, but it’s not the sole solution. Look for a chapstick or lip balm with moisturizing ingredients like aloe vera to help lock in hydration. Just remember, chapstick is more of a preventive measure than a treatment.


Windburn lips may seem like a minor inconvenience, but they can quickly put a damper on your outdoor adventures. By understanding the causes and symptoms of this common skin condition, you can take proactive steps to protect your lips from the harsh effects of wind and cold.

Lip balm is your best friend when you’re heading outdoors. Add it to your arsenal of sunscreen and protective clothing to keep your lips healthy and comfortable, no matter what the elements throw your way.

And if you do find yourself with windburned lips, don’t despair. With a little TLC and the right treatment options, you can soothe the discomfort, replenish lost moisture, and get your lips back to their best in no time.

So the next time you head out into the great outdoors, keep these tips in mind and enjoy the fresh air with confidence, knowing that you’ve got the tools to keep your lips happy, healthy, and ready for whatever comes your way.

Mick Wadley

Mick Wadley – Founder of Skorcha

After a decade in the scorching sun as a roofer and going door-to-door in sales – I was forced to take my skin health seriously following a skin cancer scare before the age of 30.

So began my passion for suncare, which is both effective and natural. Crafted for adventure and endurance sports, Skorcha formulas are non-greasy, have no eye sting and absolutely no bullshit (100% Organic).

My goal is to share what I’ve learned about skin health and safe ingredients, inspiring happier, healthier lives through adventure, organic goodness and conservation!

Help us plant a mangrove tree with every Skorcha product sold to protect fragile marine ecosystems and support underprivileged communities around the world.

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